A purported gang member was convicted of murder Thursday in the daylight shooting of an 18-year-old who allegedly encroached onto a rival gang’s territory in October 2015.
Marquille Spencer, 20, was found guilty of second degree murder for shooting Joseph Daniels on Oct. 26, 2015.
State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia, who heard the case without a jury, also found Spencer guilty of criminal possession of a weapon but not guilty of a secondary assault charge.
During the trial, prosecutors Lauren Nash and John G. Schoemick presented video evidence from security cameras in the area that showed activity before and after the shooting. The actual shooting took place out of range of the cameras.
However, two witnesses testified to seeing Spencer at the scene of Broadway and Woltz Avenue with a weapon at the time Daniels was killed.
One man, working at a laundromat across the street, told how he noticed something unusual that day. About half a dozen young men were congregating on the street, something he said that rarely happened so early in the day.
“It was just all the boys out there,” he testified.
He said he realized something might be up and alerted other patrons of the laundry to watch out the front windows, in case something happened.
They saw a white car drive up “and two guys got out of the car.” One was tall. The other he referred to as “the little man.”
“When the boys got out, the little man got out of the car and one of them popped him (with a hand) in the side of the head,” the witness said.
A short time later, he said, he saw a man in a brown leather jacket – Spencer – hurrying onto the scene. He said he recognized the young man because he is good friends with Spencer’s grandmother.
“He ran up, then all I seen was ‘Bang!’ That’s when the girl (a laundry patron) called police,” the witness said. “He (Spencer) had something in his hand like this” – and the witness extended his arm – "That’s when the little boy went down to the ground.”
After the shots, everyone scattered.
“They disappeared so fast. The big boy picked up the little boy and threw him in the car. They just drove off,” he said.
Medical personnel later testified that Daniels was brought to Erie County Medical Center with a fatal gunshot wound to the torso, along with shots that grazed his right hand and shattered a bone in his right leg. He died as doctors were beginning surgery.
The man with him was shot in the leg. He was treated and released, but when called to the witness stand during the trial he professed not to have seen the person who shot him.
However, another witness who was close to the action did identify Spencer.
Ricky Law, who said he was a former member of the LRGP gang that operates in the Broadway Fillmore area, testified that he was the one who got Spencer to come to the scene that day.
Law is jailed and awaiting sentencing on unrelated weapons and robbery charges. He testified that, when Daniels and the other man arrived on Broadway, he got "nervous" and called Spencer.
Video from a Jim’s Steakout on Chippewa Street a short time before the shooting shows Spencer receiving a phone call, waiting to buy his food and then leaving. Cameras on Broadway catch him a few minutes later arriving by car, getting out and still holding his Steakout lunch.
In cross-examination, defense attorney Joseph Agro suggested to Law that he was setting up the murder of “Little Joe.” Law denied it, saying, “I didn’t know he was going to do that. I didn’t tell him Little Joe was there. I just told him to come.”
After Buscaglia pronounced his guilty verdict, Agro was relieved of his representation of Spencer because in January he begins working for the District Attorney's Office. Daniel Grasso was assigned as defense counsel and the judge set sentencing for Feb. 15.